EXCLUSIVE: William Hurt has been set in the final major role of Winter’s Tale, the Warner Bros adaptation of the Mark Helprin novel that marks the feature directing debut of Oscar-winning scribe Akiva Goldsman. Goldsman worked for seven years on the project, directing episodes of the TV show Fringe to get ready, while he worked on the script to get a green light from a studio which usually doesn’t make $46 million fables. It has helped Goldsman that he was able to lean on his past collaborators Russell Crowe and Will Smith (Goldsman made three films with each actor) to ramp up the star power in smaller roles. Hurt plays the father of a dying young woman who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her home, a palatial West Side mansion, in a drama that takes place in 19th century and contemporary Manhattan. Goldsman cast Colin Farrell to play the thief and Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay plays the dying young girl. The film is being made on that budget while shooting entirely in New York, switching from 1899 to the present. The film begins production in October, with Marc Platt and Michael Tadross producing. ICM Partners rep Hurt.
EXCLUSIVE: Eli Roth is hot again. I’ve just learned that the creator of the Hostel franchise, director, producer, and occasional actor (Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds) is in talks to go back behind the camera for a Warner Bros project in development to star Russell Crowe. That’s right, Crowe is now attached. But not to play the role of Harker in the spec script by Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy that’s a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Instead, I’ve learned that Crowe is attached to play Dracula who is tracked by Jonathan Harker, a Scotland Yard detective. Hmm, Crowe as Dracula: cool, huh? Crowe is only on board for the first film, but the script sets up the sleuth as a potential new franchise character. Harker is as yet uncast — and boy, is that a juicy role for a leading man. “Once they figure out the story then they’ll figure out who’s right to play him,” a source says. Crowe and Roth worked together on the upcoming RZA-directed actioner, The Man With The Iron Fists, which stars Crowe in Roth’s script. Roth also produced the Universal film with Quentin Tarantino and others.
When Warner Bros acquired Harker in February 2011, the director attached was Unknown‘s Jaume Collet-Serra. But the studio asked Collet-Serra to oversee Akira until the film based on the anime classic was shelved for cost reasons. Now Collet-Serra is one busy Spaniard and among other projects helming another Joel Silver film with …
Universal Pictures just sent Deadline this trailer with the description “Quentin Tarantino presents an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth.” RZA makes his debut as feature director and leading man. Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu also star in “the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero in nineteenth-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all.” Release date has not been scheduled.
Deadline three times has mentioned Jennifer Connelly as being the frontrunner to re-team with A Beautiful Mind‘s Russell Crowe and play his wife in Noah, the Darren Aronofsky-directed Biblical epic that also will star Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth. Sure enough, now reports are surfacing that she’ll play the role. I’m not sure how much competition she had since the first time Deadline reported it on June 4. She was the only name we heard being taken seriously.
EXCLUSIVE: Emma Watson is in talks to join Darren Aronofsky’s cast of Noah, which stars Russell Crowe as the Biblical ark builder. Watson is in discussions to play Ila, a young woman who develops a close relationship with Noah’s son, Shem. That role will be played by Douglas Booth, with Logan Lerman playing Noah’s other son, Ham. Still to be cast is Noah’s wife–Jennifer Connelly is one of the actresses in contention–and Noah’s nemesis. The film’s being co-financed by Paramount and New Regency.
EXCLUSIVE: Darren Aronofsky is casting up the main roles for Noah, the Biblical epic that stars Russell Crowe. I’m told Aronofsky has set Douglas Booth to play Noah’s son Shem. Noah’s older son, Ham, will be played by Logan Lerman. Still to be cast is Noah’s wife — word is that Jennifer Connelly is among the actresses in the mix for that role (she starred with Crowe in A Beautiful Mind) — as well as Noah’s nemesis in the film. Early on there were whispers that Liam Neeson might play that role, but that’s not happening. There is also a great role for a young actress, the love interest for Noah’s oldest son. The film’s being co-financed by Paramount and New Regency and is Aronofsky’s follow-up to Black Swan.
Deadline was the first to reveal that Russell Crowe was Darren Aronofsky’s choice to star in Noah, the coproduction between Paramount Pictures and New Regency. The partners just announced his closed deal. Deadline also reported that Liam Neeson was circling the other major lead. We’ll have to see if that one sticks. Here’s the announcement:
HOLLYWOOD, CA (April 22, 2012) – Paramount Pictures and New Regency Productions jointly announced today that Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe has been cast as Noah in Academy Award®-nominated director Darren Aronofsky’s feature film of the same name. Paramount will release the film on March 28, 2014.
Said Aronofsky, “I’d like to thank Paramount and Regency for backing my team’s work to breathe new life into the biblical epic. I rejoice that Russell Crowe will be by my side on this adventure. It’s his immense talent that helps me to sleep at night. I look forward to being wowed by him every day.”
NOAH is a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. In a world ravaged by human sin, Noah is given a divine mission: to build an Ark to save creation from the coming flood. The screenplay was written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel and revised by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter John Logan (GLADIATOR, HUGO).
Scott Franklin and Aronofsky of Protozoa Pictures, along with Mary Parent of Disruption Entertainment, will produce the film. The film will be executive produced by Ari Handel (BLACK SWAN), Arnon
Paramount Pictures and New Regency have announced a March 28, 2014 release date for Noah. The film is directed by Black Swan’s Darren Aronofsky. Russell Crowe, as Deadline first reported, will star as the Biblical builder of the Great Ark. The film reunites the Oscar winning actor with New Regency, which made LA Confidential with Crowe back in 1997, and with writer John Logan, who penned 2000’s Gladiator. After initial work by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, Logan rewrote the Noah script.
EXCLUSIVE: Darren Aronofsky is ready to set sail on Noah, the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. I’m hearing that the Black Swan director wants Russell Crowe to play the title role in the New Regency/Paramount film. I can’t tell you that this is all going to lead to a deal but signs are pointing that way. I have also heard Aronofsky wants The Grey star Liam Neeson for another role. It all starts with Noah, though and it’s nice to see Crowe, one of those larger than life actors, entertaining the prospect of taking on such an iconic role. From Gladiator, L.A. Confidential, The Insider and on down, few actors match his intensity and talent. Gladiator scribe John Logan rewrote the script by Aronofsky and Ari Handel and Aronofsky and Scott Franklin are producing with Mary Parent. Crowe is repped by WME.
I’ve confirmed that Amanda Seyfried is in final negotiations to play Cosette in Les Miserables, joining Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) in the Tom Hooper-directed musical for Universal Pictures and Working Title Films. William Nicholson, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg wrote the script and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Cameron Mackintosh and Debra Hayward. The film will be released December 7, 2012. Innovative Artists-repped Seyfried’s last musical for Universal was Mamma Mia!
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Fox 2000 EVP Carla Hacken is leaving the studio to become president of production for New Regency. It is the latest move in a restructuring of the company since Arnon Milchan reemerged as an active chairman and installed former Paramount Pictures production president Brad Weston as CEO with a mandate to become a more filmmaker-driven concern.
New Regency is partly owned by News Corp, whose 20th Century Fox distributes and often co-finances Regency-generated films. The move was orchestrated with the cooperation of Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman and Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler.
“Jim, Tom and Liz have been great partners and are incredibly gracious about Carla,” Weston told me in confirming the move. “They see this as a terrific opportunity for her, and a great way to help support New Regency. Arnon and I couldn’t be more appreciative.”
Hacken was an ICM agent when she was brought into the Fox 2000 fold 15 years ago by Laura Ziskin. She has worked closely with Gabler and developed such films as Unfaithful, The Devil Wears Prada, Walk The Line, Bride Wars, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and its sequel, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Love & Other Drugs and In Her Shoes.
There has long been a tradition of cross pollination between Fox and New Regency (which is based on the lot). That includes Sanford Panitch (who moved from Fox to Regency and now steers Fox International Productions) …
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off My Week With Marilyn, Eddie Redmayne has been set to play the role of Marius in Les Miserables, the Tom Hooper-directed musical for Universal Pictures that stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Universal has set the Working Title-produced musical for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil.
Redmayne, whose starring role opposite Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn has put him in the Oscar discussion, won a Tony Award for Red and he is preparing to star in Richard II, which is Michael Grandage’s farewell production as artistic director of Donmar Warehouse. That play opens December 1. Redmayne, who made a memorable debut in the Robert De Niro-directed The Good Shepherd, recently wrapped the Derick Martini-directed Hick alongside Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively, and the BBC two-part WWI miniseries Birdsong. Redmayne is repped by CAA, manager Gene Parseghian and United Agents in the UK.
Catherine Zeta-Jones has closed her deal to star in Broken City, joining Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in the Allen Hughes-directed drama. Zeta-Jones will play the philandering wife of the mayor of New York (Crowe). When a Brooklyn detective (Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor to identify his wife’s lover, and the lover turns up dead, the detective takes it personally and uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his employer. Brian Tucker wrote the script and Randall Emmett, Stephen Levinson, Wahlberg and George Furla will produce. The $50 million film is being fully funded by Emmett/Furla Films and New Regency recently came on as producer, with Fox distributing. Shooting begins November in New York. Zeta-Jones recently completed three big films. She’s coming off the Adam Shankman-directed Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, starred with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid in Playing The Field, and starred in the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite with Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn. She’s repped by WME.
BREAKING: Anne Hathaway has closed a deal to join Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in Les Miserables, the Universal Pictures and Working Title Films musical adaptation of the stage play and classic novel. Hathaway will play Fantine, and her participation had been rumored for some time. Crowe plays Inspector Javert and Jackman is Jean Valjean. The film’s being directed by Tom Hooper, who helmed the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech.
Universal has set the picture for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil. Hathaway is currently playing Catwoman in the Chris Nolan-directed The Dark Knight Rises for Warner Bros.
EXCLUSIVE: In one of its first moves since Brad Weston was named CEO and Arnon Milchan reinserted himself as the active head of the company, New Regency has come aboard the producing roster of Broken City, the Allen Hughes-directed drama that stars Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. The film will be distributed through New Regency’s deal with 20th Century Fox. It was put together and funded by Emmett/Furla Films. In the Brian Tucker-scripted drama, Wahlberg plays a detective hired by the mayor to see if his wife is unfaithful. When her cheating partner turns up dead, the private eye devotes himself to exposing the mayor and uncovers a self-dealing real estate scandal involving the politician. Crowe plays the mayor. Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Emmett brokered the deal.
While Milchan is finalizing a new credit line, he and Weston visited the agencies this week to let them know what they are up to. They want to turn the company into a filmmaker-driven company, engaging in the kind of films Milchan used to make, when he produced and funded pictures that included L.A. Confidential, Heat, Fight Club and JFK. New Regency is teamed with Paramount on the Darren Aronofsky-directed Biblical epic Noah, which finally got announced this week and which could start production early next year if John Logan’s rewrite of …
EXCLUSIVE: It’s a role that a lot of actresses wanted, but I’m told that Olivia Wilde will play 1970s supermodel Suzy Miller in Rush, the Ron Howard-directed Formula One drama about the rivalry between drivers Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver is producing with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Cross Creek funded the film with Exclusive Media Group.
Miller fell in love with and married Hunt, a handsome, womanizing driver, but the most interesting part of their relationship is how Miller soon fell in love with Hunt’s actor pal, Richard Burton. Hunt and Burton famously negotiated a “transfer” of assets, with Burton paying the $1 million divorce settlement that Hunt owed Miller. Burton and Miller were married shortly after.
I’m told that Howard hopes to recruit his A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe to play the small role of Burton in the Peter Morgan-scripted film. Wilde, who’ll next be seen starring in Butter, is repped by WME and Untitled along with UK-based Hamilton Hodell.
EXCLUSIVE: In a mid-six-figure against seven-figure deal, Emmett/Furla Films has acquired Expiration, an action script by Brian Tucker. He scripted Broken City, a drama that EFF is financing for a November 7 start date with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe starring for director Allen Hughes. Expiration will be produced by Randall Emmett, George Furla and Tucker.
An ex-CIA operative-turned-hitman is poisoned on his final job. With 20 hours to live, he is determined to find out who poisoned him, and settle the score before he dies. It’s a big-scale $50 million-plus action film. EFF will finance it, and they will go out to directors and cast quickly to start production early next year. Aside from Tucker’s Broken City, Emmett/Furla starts production October 17 on Frozen Ground, which stars John Cusack as Alaska’s most notorious serial predator, Robert Hansen. In the span of 12 years, Hansen abducted more than 24 women and flew them into the Alaskan wilderness to hunt and murder them. Nicolas Cage plays the Alaskan State trooper on his tail, and Vanessa Hudgens plays the lone victim who escaped. At the recent Toronto Film Festival, Emmett/Furla Films unveiled a $250 million film find with Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase’s Envision Entertainment. Tucker’s repped by WME and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Superman is getting a new mom. Ayelet Zurer, the Israeli actress who starred in Angels & Demons and who played the wife of Avner (Eric Bana) in Munich, has been set to play the role of Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s Kryptonian mother, in Man of Steel. Production is underway on the Warner Bros/Legendary film. That role was originally going to be played by Julia Ormond. I was unable to find out why director Zack Snyder made the last-minute change, but I’ve confirmed that Zurer will start filming this week. Henry Cavill plays Superman, Russell Crowe plays Superman’s Kryptonian father, Jor-El, and Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Michael Shannon also star. Zurer will next be seen starring in the Lawrence Kasdan-directed Darling Companion opposite Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and Dianne Wiest for Sony Pictures Classics. She’s repped by IFA Talent Agency. Man of Steel is produced by Chris Nolan, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder and Emma Thomas.